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The confederation of peoples collectively known as Hispanic Americans actually are comprised of peoples from several nations across the world. From Mexico to South America, to Spain and Puerto Rico, to name just a few countries of origin, there are more than 35 million Hispanic American citizens currently residing in the United States. This represents more than 13% of the population. The first misconception which must be erased is that these diverse peoples are all of one race, when it is rather a shared language, Spanish, which provides the tenuous connection among Hispanics. Indeed, far from being members of a race such as African, Caucasian, or Asian, ""Hispanics and Latinos may be of any race (U.S. Census Bureau, 2002)."" Further, according to the 2000 Census, 48% of Hispanics selected White as their race, while 42% selected one other race (U.S. Census Bureau, 2002) and 10% selected multiple races. Clearly, distinctions exist and by comparing and contrasting four unique groups; Cubans, Dominicans, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans these distinctions will be apparent.
Mexicans are the largest and most prominent group of Spanish speakers living in the United States. In addition to 45 million legal citizens, it is estimated that an additional seven million, a total of 2% of the U.S. population, are here illegally (Hoefer, Rytina, & Baker, 2008). Mexicans have settled in the United States since its inception and many became de facto citizens when formerly Mexican lands were incorporated into the United States. Mexicans bring a heritage of mixed ancestry as a result of the Conquest of Mexico by Spanish and other Caucasian invaders. Today, Mexican American culture has not strayed far from its roots. Mexicans' value system revolves around pride in family, which is ideally large and close knit, and respect for the deceased as celebrated every November 1st the Day of the Dead, El Dia des los Muertas. However, this celebration is considered a folk tradition, as the vast majority of the population, approximately 90%, is Roman Catholic (Sanchez, 1993).

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